As the weather becomes warmer, the allure to get back into the pool is inviting. Fountain Hills Rural/Metro firefighters want to remind everyone that water safety practices and constant supervision is the cure to prevent child drowning and non- fatal drowning incidents.
“During this time of year firefighters are preparing for brush fires and heat related incidents, but what gives them a greater concern is the call for a child that has drown,” Assistant Fire Chief/Fire Marshal Jason Payne said. “Firefighters know that it only takes a short pause in supervision where a child can slip away and fall into a pool or any open body of water.”
Although there are documented drownings for each month of the year, they significantly increase during the spring and summer. Most children drown in backyard pools, but children also drown in areas of open water or even toilets, buckets and bathtubs.
The leading cause of unintentional death in Arizona for children ages one to four is drowning. In that age group there have already been 20 water-related incidents in the greater Phoenix/Maricopa county area this year, sadly resulting in three child deaths.
Families in Fountain Hills are not immune to fatal or non-fatal child drowning. There are proven steps that can be made to prevent child drowning and the first is still the most important – constant supervision near water is the rule.
In addition to supervision there are other pre-cautions that will provide additional safety for children.
*Never leave a child or children unattended in the water or pool area for any reason. Don’t be distracted by doorbells, phone calls, chores or conversations. If you must leave the pool area, take the child with you, making sure the pool self-closing gate latches securely when it closes. Keep your eyes and ears open at all times.
*Never lose focus on children during pool parties or gatherings. Designate yourself or a capable person to be the child water watcher who must be in constant contact with kids in or around the pool.
*Block access to the pool and spa from the house by installing approved barriers. Repair broken gates, fences and nets.
*Keep objects that can be used for climbing away from pool fences such as tables, chairs or large play toys.
*Don’t leave toys or floating devices in the pool area, as children will be drawn to retrieve them.
*Educate babysitters, grandparents and care givers on water safety and constant supervision when they watch your children.
*If a child who goes under water appears to have swallowed or breathed in water, call 9-1-1.
*Swimming lessons are a great tool to give a child an understanding for water safety.
*Learn CPR by taking a class and stay updated. Classes and updates are available every month through the Town of Fountain Hills/Recreation Department.